Tan Zhongyi Wins World Women’s Title

This year’s Women’s World Championship in Tehran, Iran (February 10-March 4) was a site of both fierce chess and controversy. In an Open letter to FIDE, US Chess President Gary Walters criticized the choice of venue. US Women’s Champion Nazi Paikidze vocally boycotted the event and several other top American females, including GM Irina Krush also declined to play.

American contenders Sabina Foisor, Kateryna Nemcova and Viktorija Ni were eliminated in round 1 of the 64-player knockout tournament. See full bracket here.

Grandmasters Tan Zhongyi (China) and Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine) rose to the top and contested a very tight final match. Tan Zhongyi was fighting to become the fifth Women’s World Championship from China, while Anna could become the second Muzychuk to win a Women’s World Championship (her sister Mariya claimed the the title in 2015.) The classical portion of the match was split 2-2 with two draws and a victory for each player.

Anna won against Zhongyi’s French, where a classic Bxh7+ sacrifice led to favorable complications for White:

The split match headed to rapid tiebreak, which began well for Muzychuk. Zhongyi switched to the Petroff, from the French she employed in the classical match. Muzychuk grinded her to what seemed like a dominant endgame, but the Chinese Grandmaster was able to escape to a drawn pawn ending.

In the second tiebreak game, Tan Zhongyi prevailed after the blunder …Kh6, when g4! ensnared the black king.

GM Elshan Moradiabadi, who was born in Iran and now lives in the US, wrote an extensive report on the event for chessbase, and you can find further information on the official tournament website. 


  1. The chess boards showing the games of the players display an arrow across the board apparently trying to show the last move made. I find these quite annoying. Is there a setting I can change on my computer so I don’t see those? If not, are the arrows really necessary?

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